fitness guy

Choose the Right Packaging for Health & Fitness Focused Consumers


Nearly two thirds of people surveyed in a 2018 Harris Poll for the National Grocer’s Association (NGA) said they expect the grocery shopping experience to support a healthier lifestyle. It’s clear that certain consumers are taking charge of their health and looking for healthier choices. So, brands are providing them with those choices.

Supermarket News recently reported on how the shift to “better for you” products is creating shopper satisfaction, as indicated by an uptick in the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) in 2018.

David VanAmburg, managing director of the ACSI, explained why these products matters:


“A growing demand for healthier foods has reshuffled the playing field for grocery brands … These aren’t fads; customers want to adhere to a healthier lifestyle, and they’re more satisfied with brands that offer those options.”

Organic food, for example, was once considered a trend that only targeted a specific type of shopper, but now it’s gone mainstream.

Beyond that mainstream growth, there is a subset of consumers committed to purchasing products that support a lifestyle focused on health and fitness. These are the 25 to 30 percent of people who Nielsen finds are “very willing to pay a premium” for products with healthy attributes.

If this is your brand’s target market, how do you connect with those consumers through your packaging design? To get on the right track, let’s take a closer look at one of the Freshville consumer personas we introduced during PACK EXPO 2018, Fitness Fred.

Meet Fitness Fred

quotation markDespite a demanding job and a young family, Fred is determined to take care of his body and eat nutritious food. Whether it’s early in the morning, after work, or on a lunchbreak, Fred finds time to squeeze in at least three to five workouts every male runner

He’s a big believer in organic foods, frequenting specialty health shops and high-end grocery stores where convenient premium packaging featuring health claims he cares about is likely to stand out.

Fred also purchases sports nutrition products, including workout recovery drinks, protein-packed snacks, and protein powder. That is in line with industry growth trends as the U.S. sports nutrition market is expected to reach $20 billion by 2020 according to some predictions, with protein powders accounting for as much as $7.5 billion of that spending.

As a millennial, Fred defines “healthy” differently than his older counterparts. A Goldman Sachs report found that while Gen X and baby boomers tend to view being healthy as “not sick,” millennials use terms like “eating right and exercising.”

That same report found that while millennials like Fred are trying to cut spending in many areas, they are willing to pay more for fitness and wellness products.

Consumer Trends for the Healthy and Active Lifestyle

Whether it’s hardcore health and fitness shoppers you’re targeting, or the growing segment of conventional consumers paying closer attention to how their purchases impact wellbeing, there are several trends to consider that impact product packaging decisions.

1.  Packaging for Busy People

fitness person running with timerThe excuse most of us use when failing to exercise as much as we should is a lack of time. Fitness Fred is the kind of person who makes time for his workouts. But, he’s just as busy as the rest of us.

Packaging that fits Fred’s active lifestyle and hectic schedule provides benefits that will turn him into a loyal customer. Small format pouches with a reduced scale closure, such as the Fresh-Lock® mini Slider, are perfect for those high-protein snacks Fred depends on for sustenance during the day.

Let’s say Fred wants to take his protein powder with him to work because he’s hitting the gym on the way home. The bulky, rigid, plastic jars that protein powders typically come in don’t fit well into a gym bag. But, standup pouches featuring closures such as zippers and sliders can compact and compress as the product gets used, taking up less room.

2.  Keeping Things Fresh

fresh food packaging labelIn the past, fresh fruits and vegetables in the produce section were often loose items that shoppers picked through and weighed manually. But, there’s been a steady trend toward more pre-packaged produce, and there are benefits for both consumers and food companies.

Take a bag of organic apples packaged in flexible film with a slider for reclosability as an example. It helps catch shoppers’ eyes with colorful graphics and supports improved brand recall. It also allows for the display of health statements, which you couldn’t proclaim on a piece of bare fruit.

Resealability lets Fred keep his food fresh for longer. The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) claims the right package significantly extends shelf life and reduces food waste for fruits and vegetables as well as protein products. Flexible packaging is also an ideal way to provide fresh meals such as salad kits, making lunch prep much easier for Fred.

3.  Cool and Convenient Frozen Foods

frozen healthy produce packaging labelMany shoppers view fresh and frozen produce in a similar light. A study from Acosta found 43 percent of millennials were spending more on frozen food products. As the study’s author explains …

“ … Millennials, who often take greater interest in the health benefits of food than older generations, look to frozen as a way to eat well in a convenient and hassle-free manner.”

Frozen fruits let Fred blend his own smoothies with protein powder while frozen veggies provide a quick and healthy side dish. The right packaging prevents common frustrations with frozen food. That includes reclosable flexible packaging that keeps packaging from inadvertently opening up and getting freezer burn. The application of a zipper or slider avoids that annoyance, giving consumers confidence the package is closed and their food is protected.

4.  Clearing up Confusion

window iconWhile many shoppers seek healthy options, it’s not always obvious what health benefits their purchases provide. Research from the American Heart Association and the International Food Information Council Foundation found 95 percent of U.S. shoppers occasionally look for healthy food choices. Yet, only around 25 percent thought it was easy to determine which products were truly healthy.

The billboarding space available on flexible package designs helps shoppers like Fred differentiate between healthy choices, which may be unique to the product or brand you’re marketing.

A recent study from global consulting firm L.E.K found consumers are looking for products with more nuanced health claims. That means going beyond terms like low calorie and all natural, and instead listing a more specific benefit, such as “no artificial ingredients or preservatives.”

Reaching Fitness Fred with Flexible Reclosable Packaging

When your product packaging reflects the lifestyle your target market is pursuing and adds value by making life simpler, you will win at retail. Flexible packaging that includes closures such as zippers and sliders helps shoppers like Fred justify the decision to pay more for healthier options. Not only is the product better, so is the package, and that makes it easier to pay a little more.

Fresh-Lock provides unique closure solutions that health and fitness shoppers appreciate. Our DZ Double Zipper holds up to cold temperatures, making it ideal for frozen food packaging. The Particle Plow Slider keeps granulated products like protein powder from prevent closure of the track, and the Click N Lock™ Sensory Zipper gives consumers confidence a package is securely closed, which is a plus for on-the-go consumers.

Use this checklist when making packaging design decisions for shoppers like Fred.

Make Your Products More Attractive to Fred:

  • Add value to your offering with packaging that fits Fred’s lifestyle
  • Help Fred keep healthy food fresh longer by extending shelf life and reducing waste with reclosability
  • Clearly call out specific health benefits of your product on the packaging
  • Provide value-add premium packaging to help validate the decision to purchase healthy products with higher price points
  • Consider the affinity with sustainability-focused shoppers

Many consumers who are focused on health and fitness also care about the health of the planet and agricultural practices. Find out more about how to reach these types of people with the right packaging when you meet Sustainable Stacy.

When you’re ready to look at options to improve your packaging strategy, turn to the innovators and experts at Fresh-Lock. Contact us today and let’s look for ways to enhance the packaging experience you’re giving your target market.

For more insights into consumer packaging trends, don’t miss our exclusive e-book. It’s free to download, and dives deeper into how certain shoppers make purchasing decisions.

fresh-lock ebook about packaging trends

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